New Year message of the JVP

Let’s join hands for a new political journey!
The year 2016 has ended and 2017 has dawned. Many consider New Year as an opportunity to renew life with experiences gained from years that have ended. Hence, if we are able to learn from the experiences of past years and begin the life anew, think anew and take new political decisions this would indeed by an auspicious New Year.
The year 2017 has dawned bringing with it the same challenges that existed in the past year together with new challenges. The Prime Minister himself once said Sri Lanka was burdened with a colossal debt mountain of more than Rs. 10,500 billion. It would not come down but would definitely go up this year.
Due to the debt crisis and dwindling foreign assets the rupee has depreciated resulting in an additional burden on the masses. Also, numerous taxes and fines proposed in the budget and passed by a majority in Parliament as a solution for the economic crisis confronted by the country are to be thrown on people’s heads this year. Also, many resources of the country and state institutions would be sold this year. On the other hand people will be further burdened due to the slashing of allocations for education, health and relief for farmers. In this way the New Year would bring many challenges for the common people.
The number of motor accidents, suicides, robberies, crimes destruction of the environment that escalate day by day burden the common people further.
This is why mere traditional wishing would not make the New Year an auspicious one. Despite people wishing each other on the first day of the year in the past, none of these years became auspicious to the common masses.
Hence, 2017 should be made a real auspicious New Year for the masses. For this the masses in the country should turn the political path they had been taking until now on a new direction. They should join the political path that would lead to genuine victory for the people. They should determine to change the old political decisions and take new political decisions in the New Year. They should enter a new political journey that would take the country towards genuine victories and that would build a new society to replace the old deteriorating society. They should rally and join hands with steadfastness to build a massive people’s power, a people’s center. Then only the New Year would be a genuinely auspicious one.
We wish all Sri Lankans an auspicious 2017.
Political Bureau,
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna

Is selling the harbour not a deal? Comrade Handunneththi asks President

The Member of the Political Bureaau of the JVP Comrade Sunil Handunnetahthi MP writing to President Maithripala Sirisena requests him to withdraw the decision to sell Hambanthota Harbour and to present in Parliament the agreement to be signed in a few days.
In his letter Comrade Sunil Handunneththi states, “We do not know how to describe the secret transaction other than describe it as a ‘deal’ and it is an issues for the people how such moves differ from the ‘deals’ during the ones in the ‘black decade’ of Rajapaksa administration. The transaction cannot be justified just because it is presented in parliament. The government should have minimal ethics to tell the country what conditions have been agreed to when selling assets belonging to the people and also it is a right of the people to know details about such a transaction. For, anyone who signs or represents the transaction or we who writes this letter would not exist after 99 years when the country gets back the ownership. This is a matter that involves eh future generations as well.
We, after considering all these matters, request you not to allow this agreement that hands over a people’s asset to foreign ownership; at least to take immediate measures to bring it before the parliament before it is signed so that people would know what it is. We would like you to take action immediately as the whole country is waiting to see what action you would take regarding this.”

Government attempts to protect CB bond fraudsters

“It seems that the Parliament is about to discuss the constitution the government intends bringing in. The reports of the sub-committees are to be discussed. Still no date has been fixed to discuss the COPE report. This is why I requested the Speaker to take measures to discuss the COPE report during the first session of parliament next year. People may have suspicions if the process gets delayed. As a responsible political party, the JVP, after the COPE report was released, presented to the country on 9th November, 2016 a series of proposals on immediate action that should be taken regarding recommendations in the report. We have a suspicion that the government is attempting to protect the perpetrators of the bond scam,” says the Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP and Chairman of COPE Comrade Sunil Handunneththi MP. The Member of the Central Committee of the JVP Attorney-at-law Comrade Sunil Watagala also participated.

Comrade Sunil Handunneththi said, “As the Chairman of COPE that carried out an investigation regarding the bond incident in the Central Bank and as a member of the JVP that was actively involved in the struggle to bring COPE report to the Parliament I consider it is necessary to express our views again regarding the bond incident.
The report was presented to parliament on 28th October. Until now there hasn’t been any Parliamentary debate on this report. The budget debate was a justifiable reason for the delay until now. However, the report is a document that belongs to the Parliament. As such, it is the responsibility of the Parliament to give an opportunity for the Parliamentarians to take part in an open debate and set up a mechanism to implement recommendations in the COPE report and the report submitted by the Attorney General. The report includes a considerable amount of information regarding the bond transaction.
Once the new government came to power, for the first time, the Central Bank was detached from the Ministry of Finance and was taken under the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs. This is how it comes under the Prime Minister. When Parliament was dissolved a debate on this transaction had already commenced. The first responsibility of investigating the loss to the Central Bank was with the Central Bank. When it didn’t happen there was a discussion in parliament. As a result of this discussion the Prime Minister presented Gamini Pitipana Commission report to Parliament on 19th May, 2015. As Gamini Pitipana report was inadequate the Speaker appointed a sub-committee on the 20th May to begin an investigation. Accordingly, the 7th parliament that met on 22nd May appointed a COPE subcommittee of 13 members. I too was a member of this committee. We held 11 meetings and recorded evidence from 42 witnesses. However, the subcommittee report was not able to be presented in parliament due to two reasons. The first is no approval by the main committee on the report and the second is the parliament was dissolved on 26th June. As such, the 7th parliament did not get any report on the bond issue.
Once the 8th Parliament commenced I was elected as the Chairman of COPE. There were 26 members in it. With the agreement of all we summoned Central Bank before us and after discussing many transactions of the Central Bank we decided to go ahead with the investigation regarding the discarded bond issue. It was not a task we were entrusted with. All members of COPE including me as the Chairman took the responsibility of re-investigating the issue. Accordingly, COPE commenced investigations on 6th May, 2016. 26 witnesses including former Governor of the Central Bank were summoned. The committee met 12 times. Meanwhile, the Auditor General handed over a report with sensitive information to the Speaker. The report of the COPE, compiled with evidence we gathered and the report of the Auditor General and all annexure were tabled in Parliament on 28th October. The report including the annexure has 3000 pages. It has 25 annexure, was printed in Government Press and distributed among all MPs. It is no longer a report of the COPE. It belongs to the parliament. As the final conclusion we have entered the authority the parliament has regarding this document. In it we say the Parliament that is responsible for all financial matters in the country, as stipulated in clause 148 of the Constitution, should hold an open debate on the report submitted.
As the Committee On Public Enterprises we have fulfilled our responsibility. It is the parliament that is responsible regarding state’s finances. It could be Central Bank bonds, the hedging transaction of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and an issue of another department. COPE looks after the affairs of state enterprises and Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) is responsible for government departments, local government councils and ministries. It is the authority parliament has on state finances. As all 225 MPs cannot get involved in these matters the two committees are appointed according to the political parties that represent parliament. It is a task fulfilled on behalf of the whole parliament. Accordingly, the report belongs to parliament. It is the Speaker who is head of parliament and after a meeting of party leaders the Speaker names a date for a debate on the report. Then the Parliament should decide action regarding recommendations in the report.
The report has 16 recommendations. The essence of the report is that the loss to the government due to the fraud should be recovered from the responsible parties. As those responsible for the financial crime committed we have identified former governor of the Central Bank and officials who directly got involved in the scam. Legal action should be taken against them. We have also proposed that measures should be taken to prevent such misappropriations. There are many parties for such action. The Ministry of Finance that represents Monetary Council, Central Bank (Investigations should be carried out if officials and broking company was able to commit the crime due to a defect in the Central Bank mechanism), the cabinet to monitor the Central Bank and we have proposed action that could be taken by the executive. The Central Bank should be able to take action even without the report. However, the whole country is watching what action would be taken in connection with the bond issue.
However, what we learn is that the parliament is about to discuss the constitution the government intends bringing in. The reports of the sub-committees are to be discussed. Still no date has been fixed to discuss the COPE report. This is why I requested the Speaker to take measures to discuss the COPE report during the first session of parliament. People may have suspicions if the process gets delayed. As a responsible political party, the JVP, after the COPE report was released presented to the country on 9th November, 2016 a series of proposals on immediate action that should be taken regarding recommendations in the report. We have a suspicion that the government is attempting to protect the perpetrators of the bond scam.
We ask the government to take the debate on the bond transaction as the first move of the parliament in the new year. It is the parliament that is responsible for the COPE report. The Prime Minister has referred the report to the Attorney General. The action he could take legally regarding the report is another matter. We believe that the decision regarding the report should be taken not by the Attorney General but by the parliament. It is the parliament that should decide whether an explanation for the Attorney General is necessary or not. Despite COPE not being an investigative mechanism, it has been proved that Perpetual Treasuries Ltd. has gained an illegal profit from the bond transaction. It is clear from their financial reports as well. All documents based on the recommendations have been included in the report. Hence, we expect the Speaker to take measures to hold a debate on the report soon.”

Our aim is to bring to a halt government’s harmful projects

We reproduce here a translation of the interview the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka had with a weekend newspaper.

This could be the last time we meet for 2016. Do we next meet in the country heated up by the JVP?
This is a moment Maithri – Ranil administration has begun several projects that have not been brought to the surface but are very harmful to the economy and the existence of the country. The government has already begun matters such as amendments to the Customs Ordinance, agreements reached through ETCA, the attempt to create an exclusive power, plans prepared to destroy free education, the plans to sell assets and natural resources in the country. All these projects are targets to be implemented by Maithri – Ranil administration in 2017. Our intention is to rally masses against this destructive economic path, to launch struggles against the government’s moves and reverse the government’s destructive projects. Our attempt is to create a progressive and a righteous society to replace the destructive administration.
What is the programme that would heat up the country?
This journey that destroys the economy should be halted. There is a jeopardy regarding Colombo Port. Due to the geographical situation of Colombo Port it has gained a massive value internationally. Previous government handed over the Southern Jetty to China on the pretext of developing it. Chandrika’s government handed over Queen Elizabeth Jetty to a company and they control it now. The main jetty owned by Sri Lanka Ports Authority is the East Jetty. Now, it is to be sold. This is not only an issue confronted by Port employees. It is an issue concerned with the economic structure of the whole country. We are carrying out a massive struggle to halt government’s attempt to sell the jetty. The situation that has developed in Hamanthota Harbour is similar. The government is making plans to give it to a Chinese company for a very long period. This agreement includes several conditions that are detrimental to the country. There have been massive thefts when constricting the harbour as well. When it is handed over to China too massive thefts are being committed. We would commence a struggle demanding developing Hambanthota Harbour as a state asset. We would direct the struggle joining the Hambanthota people and the employees of the harbour.
The government is also making plans to take over 15,000 acres from Hambanthota; there is also an attempt to sell Kahatagaha graphite mines. It is preparing to sell mineral sands deposits at Pulmoddai. We would struggle to reverse all these mean attempts of the government. This struggle would be a ceaseless struggle. As the final result of all agitations and struggles we would amass the largest number of people Colombo has witnessed and hold a gigantic protest campaign that would hurt the government. This struggle that would heat up the country would be the fiercest struggle the country has witnessed.
You have said a struggle center would be established to commence this struggle. Could you explain it?
Various forces are carrying out struggles for the issues they are confronted with. There is a need to incorporate all these struggles. Merging these forces would strengthen the struggle. The struggle against the attempt by Maithri – Ranil administration’s attempt to destroy the economy should be stronger than the vicious attempt by the administration. All those struggles that are spread out should be controlled by one center. While participating in struggles the task of creating a struggle center that incorporates these struggles should be achieved.
Is it the JVP that takes the leadership and control of this ‘struggle center’?
This ‘struggle center’ will include us and will be carried out under a common slogan that could be agreed to by all those who love this Motherland and are against the destructive economic policy.
Does the JVP agenda of getting the ruling power included in this programme as the final result of the hard work of all strugglers?
Yes. There is such an expectation in this programme. We do not hide it. Our target is the struggle to reverse the destructive economic path as well as creating an entirely different administration that ensures the protection of our Motherland. We are going through the fiercest phase of the destructive economic path that continues from 1978. A new force is necessary to begin a new journey from where the destruction was halted. Such a force should come to power at the end of this struggle.
Do JVP Parliamentarians take the Rs.100,000 distributed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to all MPs?
Yes, we would definitely take it.
Despite saying it would be spent for the people, would you, like many others, think of pocketing this money?
We would never pocket it. Let me explain what we are going to do with this money and why we take this money.
These leaders allocated large funds for ministers and deputy ministers. They served themselves from time to time through supplementary estimates. Already, billions have been allocated by the Treasury for the luxurious living by ministers and MPs. The MPs in the government do not get all the privileges the ministers and deputy ministers get. As such, they are not satisfied. This Rs.100,000 is a ploy of Ranil Wickremesinghe to win their hearts. The UNP Parliamentarians are the ones who are worst dejected due to not getting privileges the ministers and deputy ministers get. Hence, Ranil Wickremesinghe distributes various things to satisfy them.
We do not agree with this act of distributing millions at a time when the economy of our country has fallen down drastically. However, we take this money as if we do not those in the government would plunder this money as well. It is definite.
What happens to that Rs.600,000?
We would spend the Rs.600,000 our six MPs get on behalf of a poor school every month. We would do it transparently and we invite the media to cover the event. You can see what happens to this money.
The government is against the JVP as a counter action for the criticism you aim at the government. However, you say that those in the Frontline Socialist party that were in your party and then distanced from you all expect your destruction. Why have they, who were with you, become so treacherous?
We have a struggle with the ruling classes every day. On one occasion it came up as an armed conflict. On another it surfaced as an agitation movement or a protest movement. It also surfaced as an ideological front. This conflict existed every day. The ruling classes not only carried out the conflict against us directly but also deployed secondary organizations against us. During the armed conflict the conspiracies and armed conflicts were carried out through ‘PRAA’, ‘Black Cats’, ‘yellow Cats’ etc. recruiting those who had fled from the JVP. This is how the ruling class carried out atrocities against the JVP. This is continued today as well.
Do you say Frontline Socialist party carries out government’s contracts?
That party is not our rival. We have nothing to do with them. For, they are an insignificant lot. However, they wish our doom and carry out mudslinging campaigns against us. If you carefully study the events queued up regarding Kumar Gunaratnam you could see how they acted on behalf of the interests of Mahinda Rajapaksa then and how they act according to the ruling class now. In the past Mahinda Rajapaksa camp used them to try and pinch us and today Ranil Wickremesinghe camp tries to pinch us using them.
Is Kumar Gunaratnam coming on stage a challenge for the JVP?
The group left the party five years ago. Did they become a challenge for us? They are never a challenge for us. Why should we have any thoughts about them?
Ulapane Sumangala Thero of Anti-Corruption Front is having a clash with Anura Dissanayaka, doesn’t he?
Milco is a very important place in the development of livestock sector of our country. When I was the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Lands and Irrigation Milco, that was an institute incurring losses, was made one that earned profits. When we came out of the government Milco had a fixed deposit of Rs.200 million.
I revealed handing over a land belonged to Milco, that is important for the economy of the country, to the temple of the said priest. The land was handed over to the temple after closing the well in which Milco drew water from. The priest has become angry after my revelation and has challenged me. I revealed with all the proof with me. What is expected of offering a very expensive land at Narahenpita belonging to Milco to the temple? Any person with sanity would know what the government expects by offering a land to the priest who functions in the front that is said to be exposing corruption of the government.

ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණේ නත්තල් දින පණිවිඩය

ලොව පුරා කිතුණු බැතිමතුන් විසින් මහත් භක්තියෙන් හා උත්සවශ‍්‍රීයෙන් සමරනු ලබන නත්තල දෙසැම්බර් 25 දිනට යෙදී තිබේ. සමස්ත ලෝකවාසී කිතුනු බැතිමතුන් සමඟ එක්ව නත්තල සමරනු ලබන ලාංකේය කිතුනු බැතිමතුන්ට ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණේ සුබපැතුම් එක් කරනු කැමැත්තෙමු.
ජේසුස් ක‍්‍රිස්තුස් වහන්සේ උපත ලද නත්තල් දිනය පොදුවේ හඳුන්වනු ලබන්නේ සාමයේ පණිවිඩය රැුගෙන ආ දිනය ලෙසිනි. වසර 30කට වැඩි කාලයක් ලේ ගලා ගිය බිමක වෙසෙන ලාංකේය ජනතාවට සාමයේ වටිනාකම අමුතුවෙන් පෙන්වා දිය යුතු නොවේ. අසල්වැසියාට එහෙිව අවි අමෝරා ගනු වෙනුවට පේ‍්‍රමය, සහෝදරත්වය වැනි මානව ගුණාංගවලින් අසල්වැසියා සමග ගනුදෙනු කිරීමට උගන්වන උන් වහන්සේගේ චින්තනය අදට වටිනා පණිවිඩයකි.
ජේසුස් වහන්සේගේ ජීවිතයේ ඇති මහඟු ආදර්ශය වන්නේ පීඩාවට පත් වූවන්ගේ යුක්තිය හා සාධාරණත්වය වෙනුවෙන් පෙනී සිටීම හා ඒ වෙනුවෙන් අරගල කිරීමයි. දුෂ්ට, ¥ෂිත පාලකයින්ට එරෙහිව නිදහස හා සාධාරණත්වයේ පදනම මත පිහිටා අරගල උන්වහන්සේ ලෝකවාසී ජනතාවගේ විමුක්තිය වෙනුවෙන් තම ජීවිතය පරිත්‍යාග කළ සේක. උන්වහන්සේගේ ජීවිතය පූජනීය වූයේද එබැවිනි.
අද අවශ්‍යව ඇත්තේ උන්වහන්සේගේ දර්ශනය සහ ජීවිත ආදර්ශයන් උකහා ගත් මිනිසුන්ය. එදා ජේසුස් ක‍්‍රිස්තුස් වහන්සේට සේම අද අපටද රටට බරක් වූ ජනතා විරෝධී පාලනයට එරෙහිව අරගලයක් ඇත. ක‍්‍රෑර පාලකයින්ගේ මර්දනය මැද කුරුසියේ ඇණ ගසද්දී තම දර්ශනය පාවා නොදුන් ජේසුස් වහන්සේ අපට අවධාරණය කරන්නේ ජනතාවගේ විමුක්තිය වෙනුවෙන් වූ අරගලය අත්නොහැර ඒ වෙනුවෙන් වූ විශ්වාසය දරා සිටීමේ අවශ්‍යතාවයය.
2016 නත්තල යෙදෙන්නේ අනාගතය යහපත් බවට පත්කරගැනීම සඳහා වූ නව අධිෂ්ඨානයන් කුළුගන්වා ගැනීමේ නව වසරක් අභිමුවදීය. එකිනෙකා වෙත දයාවෙන් බැලිය හැකි සමගි සම්පන්න සමාජයක් කරාවූ ජය මාවත හෙළිකර ගැනීමට මේ නත්තලේදී ශ‍්‍රී ලාංකේය කිතුනු ජනතාව අධිෂ්ඨාන සහගත විය යුතුය. ඒ සඳහා තම ජීවිත අලූත් කර ගන්නා දිනය බවට මේ නත්තල පත්කර ගන්නා මෙන් අපි ලාංකේය කිතුනු බැතිමතුන්ගෙන් දැඩි සහෝදරත්වයෙන් ඉල්ලා සිටිමු.

අනුර දිසානායක
ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණ

Christmas message of the JVP

Today (25th) is Christmas, commemorated with devotion and splendour by Christians all over the world. The JVP wishes Sri Lankan Christian devotees as well as Christians all over the world a Merry Christmas.
Christmas, the day Jesus Christ was born, is known as the day the message of peace was brought to this Earth. Sri Lankans who live in a country where blood flowed in a cruel war for 30 years need not be told the value of peace. His philosophy that teaches people to deal with their neighbours with love and fraternity instead of wielding arms is a valuable message for us today.
The most valuable example of Jesus Christ’s life was that He stood up for the downtrodden, for justice and fairness. He took the side of justice and fairness against atrocious rulers; struggled and sacrificed His life for the truth and the liberation of the people all over the world. This is why He is so sacred.
We need today people who have embraced and follow His example. Like Jesus Christ had then, we too have a struggle against the anti-peoples, vicious regime that has become a burden for Sri Lanka. Jesus Christ, who did not betray His vision even when He was crucified by the vicious rulers, emphasizes to us that the struggle for the emancipation of the masses should not be abandoned but we should have the confidence to achieve it.
Christmas 2016 falls at the threshold of a New Year that accumulates new resolves to make the future an auspicious one. Christians in Sri Lanka should resolve to pave the victory path that would lead them to a peaceful and united society where everyone treats the others with compassion and love. We call upon Sri Lankan Christian devotees to make this Christmas the day they change their lives.
Anura Dissanayaka
Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.

Members of JVP union elected uncontested to bank in port

Nominations for 72 representatives to be elected to Cooperative Bank of Sri Lanka Ports Authority were received on the 20th and candidates nominated by the All Ceylon Ports General Workers Union were elected uncontested. This is the first time candidates of the same team were returned to the posts uncontested.

The election of the Cooperative Bank which has 80% of the 7600 employees in the Port as its members and with a capital of Rs. 2000 million has been always influenced by politics in the country and is a gauge to find out the strength of trade unions. The port is an area where all political parties are tremendously active. In earlier elections held with the interference from political authority and various trade unions the JVP trade union was able to win.
The honesty, sacrifice and transparency with which members of the JVP work and the rapid progress the bank has made under the leadership of the JVP trade union has won the confidence of the members and knowing that it is futile to contest with the JVP trade union other trade unions kept away from handing over nominations.

No political hope left for MR – Lalkantha

kdlalkantha(Ceylon Today) Chairman of the National Trade Union Centre K.D. Lalkantha in an interview with Ceylon Today said that UNPers have undoubtedly shattered their aspirations for a better economy.
Excerpts of the interview:

?: How do you read the current political developments in the country?

A: People were disgusted with the Rajapaksa administration so they formed a new government under the leadership of the President Maithripala Sirisena. Rajapaksa regime had come to a natural death due to the absurd ways of its administration during their tenure. Now the same has come upon the present government in a very short span of time. People are in dire need of a solid alternative. They are compelled to walk away from the last two consecutive governments because they have witnessed and tasted the bitterness. People have rejected Mahinda Rajapaksa at two consecutive elections; therefore there is no political hope left for him. Moreover, the number of corruptions and misappropriations of the previous government have reached the people. So they know what transpired during that era. There is a vacuum for an alternative force in society. So we strive towards bridging that gap.

?: Your union extended support to the demonstrators and strikers at the Hambantota Port, what was the story over there?

A: The employees were recruited to work in the Hambantota Port. These appointments were made by Namal Rajapaksa, Rohitha Abegunewardena and the current minister Arjuna Ranatunga.
Some of those employees had given up their previous employment to join Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA). It is a known fact that the salaries paid by the SLPA are comparatively higher than at other institutions. But later on they realized that they were working for a private company and providing manpower services to the Ports Authority. The issue is if these employees provided their services to the SLPA, why, can’t they be made permanent employees of the SLPA. There was an identical request made by the man power employees of the telecom some time back. The National Trade Union Centre lead that struggle and ended it victoriously.

These port workers request the government to make them permanent employees of the SLPA. The protesters have taken a ship under their custody. That was an attempt to seek national attention to their problem. That was a correct union action to gain attention. Also, the Navy launched rescue mission to take over the ships is also the correct decision. But the Navy Commander made a blunder when he attacked a media person. Navy has a bigger responsibility to serve, at this juncture, where Indian fishermen invade our seas and take home what rightfully belong to us. This is something the Navy should have been dealing.
There is no way a strike to continue for a long time. It is a wise decision to stop it before going any further when the protestors had gained nationwide attention, to their issue. There are few steps ahead of them. But that will be an easy task since the issue is known nationwide by now.

?: Is there any pressure from the government towards unions and their activities?

A: There is no direct pressure on unions, as was, during previous governments. However, there are instances where the Prime Minister had attacked union leaders in Parliament. He had called out union leaders by name and attacked, thinking that the union leaders are rioting against them. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had never been able to serve the complete duration of his tenure. With the way things are going we see no exception this time.

?: Do you think the government will topple before its time?

A: It’s not the entire government, but it is evident that Ranil Wickremesinghe is probably going to lose his position as the Prime Minister of this country. There is a very good possibility that a new Prime Minister will be appointed instead of him. A political storm is imminent. There are factors developing for the members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party to walk away from the Unity Government. In that case the TNA would lose the leadership of the Opposition. This is due to the fact that Ranil Wickremesinghe works like a dictator. Late President R. Premadasa once said that the position of the Prime Minister is just like a peon, but see what it is like today. Ranil Wickremesinghe has made the Executive President of this country to look like a peon. So how do you expect the government to go any further with this ego?

?: What factors, in your opinion, contributed to the peoples hatred towards this government?

A: Firstly the government has walked away from the objectives of its formation. They promised to bring the looters and the plunderers of the previous government to justice; and get back the lost hard earned public funds. No matter how many people lodged complaints to the respective authorities such as the Bribery Commission (CIABOC) and the Financial Crimes Investigation Department (FCID) but nothing has worked out. Also the people were anticipating the present government to fully eradicate corruption in keeping with the principles of their governance. That has become a mere thought in the minds of the people.

There was a belief among the UNPers and some clusters of the middle class that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is a ‘clean politician’, a politician who has never got his name dirty with allegations of corruption. So, the people believed in him when they cast votes. Now the idea had been challenged; even though some may still be reluctant to think of him as a looter, but surely they believe that Ranil Wickremesinghe had provided the required protection to those who were, due to be put behind bars for corruption. Majority of the people believe that. And also there is a common belief that the people will get money to their hands whenever a UNP Government comes into power. That belief has also become just another fiction, by now. When considering the recently passed Appropriation Bill (budget) in Parliament, it shows the manner the hard earned money of people have been pulled out by means of taxes and fines. There are no avenues for people to enhance their income. There was no dialogue by the government to propose ways for the people to enhance their income but there were extensive dialogues to implement new taxes and fines all along the way.

?: What is the ulterior motive of the government in doing all these?

A: The government wants to cripple the purchasing power of the people. So that it paves the way for the government to collect monies from people through taxes and fines. The government plans to save on spending dollars, so the consumer demand should be discouraged.

The government pledged that they would bring investments to the country. But, so far, they have failed. Now the rupee is left to depreciate to attract more investors. That is why the government allowed the depreciation of the rupee from Rs.131 to Rs.151. Now the people have to spend more money for the same goods and services purchased at a comparatively lower price earlier; in a situation where the rupee income of an individual remains the same. Again the purchasing power of the employees is being discouraged by depreciating the currency. Another obstacle in attracting investors is the level of high wages of our employees, in comparison to the situation at the regional level. That’s why the agreements like ETCA surface to provide low cost labour to industries. UNPers have undoubtedly shattered their aspirations for a better economy. And the entire society knows that. That they are not capable and competent enough to do it.

?: How do you see the government’s decision, to privatize Hambantota harbour, in order to save themselves from debt?

A: The government is selling the Hambantota Port and the 15,000 acres around it for more dollars. Purchasing power of the people has been shrunk to save dollars. The government’s only objective has become saving dollars. See, even now they are not getting investments which will generate income to the people. There are a number of constructions on the ground to show that the previous government was keen on undertaking construction, but how many projects are generating actual revenue to the people. It’s like spending all the working capital and constructing a wall around the house. It will surely add glamour, but draw no actual income for the people. We should always aim at sustainable development.

?: The previous government had undertaken a number of mega constructions. They undoubtedly increased the country’s capital assets?

A: Previous government have highways, towers, ports, air ports and many more concrete structures to show but none generates a decent profit compared to the size of the investment made. So how can you call them appealing investments? They are merely projects to destroy public funds. So what really matters is not the size of the capital asset, but the income it is capable of generating.

We purchase goods to the value of US$ 20 billion a year; we export merely a US$ 10 billion worth of goods and services. So this is a vicious cycle leading the country to an enhanced trade deficit. Country’s debt proportions keep going up day by day and have a ripple effect. Therefore rather than wasting money on glamorous constructions, the government should push towards enhancing production. Governments have never had a vision to enhance production and to encourage entrepreneurs to take up manufacturing ventures.

In order to get over this issue the government should have a short term, medium term and long term plan. But what does the government actually have? It’s just a plan to sell out peoples precious assets. Why do you actually need a government to sell the assets that belong to the people?

There are nearly 2,000 acres being given to the BOI, still, there is space for investors to come and undertake ventures. But, in this situation 15,000 acres are being given to one single country, China. So they can do whatever they want in the country. Considering our stake in the transaction we would not be having any say on decisions.

?: Government is planning on Amendments to Labour Laws.
How do you see this?

A: The government is striving to change 15 important labour laws to facilitate investors. For example, according to the earlier rule if any employee undertakes an employment for more than 180 days, he should be made permanent in the respective position. But now the government plans to change the duration from 180 to 365 days. Why does the government have to take away the rights of the employees in order to facilitate investments?

What’s the worth of any investment when the rights of the people are deprived in the process? Late Fidel Castro once said “Now I’m capable of giving only one glass of milk to my people, but if I can give 2 glasses per day, I would welcome such investment without any hassle.” That should be the right mindset of a leader when negotiating investments on behalf of his people. You don’t need governments to work like this.

Ranil – Maithri sell resources for their existence

The present Ranil – Maithri administration sells resources of the country for their existence said the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka and invited the masses to struggle against government’s policy of selling.

He said this at a media conference held at the head office of the JVP today (15th). The Member of the Political Bureau of the Comrade Lal Kantha and the Central Committee Member Comrade Wasantha Samarasinghe were also present.
Comrade Anura Dissanayaka said, “The economic strategy of this government is selling and liquidating valuable resources of the country and state institutions. The rulers in the country had also built a notion earlier that the country could be developed by selling resources. In 1988 then government that began selling state institutions stating such a policy could develop the economy was confronted by a massive opposition from the people. Next selling was carried out on the pretext of ‘nationalization’. Full page advertisements were published stating ‘You too have a share’. However, nationalization did not create a good situation for the economy. Today, the present government has come up with a new concept. ‘Public–private partnership (PPP)’. This is how they are going to sell state assets to companies. It is the same poisonous toffee offered to the masses in different wrappers.
The main item of government’s auction list is Hamabanthota Harbour. According to the geographical situation Hambanthota Harbour could be developed. The first cabinet paper to build a harbour at Hambanthota was presented during Chandrika Kumaratunga’s time. We too were in the cabinet then. The first proposal was to build a harbour for bunkering and food and water services. However, Rajapaksa regime made it a harbour for redistribution and exchange of goods. Now two main arguments have been brought up to sell Hambanthota Harbour. One is no ships are coming to the harbour. The other is the debt burden. Whatever ship enters a harbour it doesn’t look for the ownership of the harbour. As such, selling the harbour is not a solution for ships not coming to the harbour. However, the government could keep the harbour under its ownership and develop it as a bunkering and supplying services earning a big profit. Without considering it the government is keen on selling the harbour.
Now what does the government proposes to do with US$1200 million it gets if it sells the harbour to the Chinese company? The government has proposed to build a rail line from Kurunegala to Habarana spending US$970 million. This would not release the government from the debt burden. The other serious matter is that the harbour is handed over for 99 years. This means Hambanthota Harbour would be owned by the Chinese company until 2115. By 2115 none of us the Chinaman, Ranil or me would be there to talk about this. You too wouldn’t be there. This means there is no taking back. The handing over is carried out with 20% for the government and 80% for the company. For 15 years the government would not get any profits. Also, the company would not pay any taxes to the government. What the Ranil – Maithri administration is doing is to sell people’s assets for their existence.
Also, 15,000 acres of land adjacent to the harbour is to be given to a Chinese company. There are 17 economic zones in our country. Katunayaka economic zone is 192 acres. Koggala is 195 acres. All 17 economic zones have fewer than 2000 acres. The land area of Sri City, the biggest economic zone in India, a large country, is about 7000 acres. Then why a land mass of 15000 acres belonging to the people of our country is given to a Chinese company? These lands have been fertilized with bones of our ancestors. They have been made fertile by the sweat and blood of our people. Do we allow such lands to be handed over to a foreign company? A land equivalent to 1/10th of Colombo is to be given to a private company when large extents of lands are already available in Koggala, Katunayaka and Biyagama industrial zones.
There are 14 islets near Kalpitiya. Mahinda Rajapaksa regime attempted to sell the islands but they were able to sell only two islets. However, the present government, hiding behind tourist promotions, is attempting to sell the other islets. The islets that are owned by Divisional Secretariats have been taken over by the Tourist Board. The rulers have dragged the country to the low level of selling the islets belonging to the country.
The government is taken steps to sell Colombo Harbour which is placed 26th of all the harbours in the world. It occupies a higher place than large harbours in India. The East terminal of Colombo Harbour owned by the government was modernized so that it has a depth of 18 meters. Now, biggest ships in the world could enter the East Terminal. When the government could get a large profit by installing the necessary cranes – 12 in number – it is to be given to private companies. Bids have been called to give it for 35 years with 15% to the government and 85% to the private company.
The most precious mineral sands deposit is the one at Pulmoddai. This deposit contains heavy mineral contents of between 70% to 80%.This reserve has the heaviest minerals. It contains Rutile, zircon, ilmanite as well as very expensive minerals such as garnet. At school we have learned that the best mineral deposit is at Pulmoddai. This government has appointed a competent authority instead of a chairman and is taking steps to liquidate it. Also, Kahatagaha Graphite Mines, one of the important plumbago mines in the world is to be sold by the government. The government has auctioned Kahatagaha Graphite Mines which produces very good plumbago.
We do not need governments to sell mineral sands deposits, harbours, graphite mines. They are like public auctioneers. This is what happens when prodigal sons are born to ancient walawwas. The coconut estates, lands and other assets are sold. Even the furniture in the walawwa is sold by these prodigal sons to get intoxicated. This government is like a prodigal son in a walawwa. Ranil – Maithri government has become a wasteful son who sells everything around him. We call upon the people in this country to join us to defeat the wasteful and destructive economic policy of selling resources and assets belonging to the people and drive away the destructive Ranil – Maithri administration.
At the moment people have commenced a massive struggle at Hambanthota against selling lands belonging to them. On 20th and 21st Comrade Lal kantha hopes to discuss the land issue with people at Hambanthota. Also, the struggle against the move by the government to sell Hambanthota Harbour would be continued. Comrade Wasantha Samarasinghe would mediate in carrying out a struggle against the attempt to sell Kahatagaha Mines and Pulmoddai deposits.
We tell the government to enjoy the cold in this December in Hong Kong and Dubai. We’ll heat up the country in January with agitations. These resources and assets do not belong only to us. We have to protect them for the future generations. Hence, we would rally all people’s forces and create the largest and broadest center of struggle to launch a massive struggle.
Responding to questions posed by journalists Mr. Dissanayaka said, “Ulapane priest convened a press conference, flew into a rage and provocatively made a statement regarding a land given to him. He is a priest of ‘Dhushana Virodhi Peramuna’. This priest looks only for corruption by the government. The government donates a land to this priest. According to him this government is not corrupt. It looks like a virtuous government. I have no issue with this priest. The land at Narahenpita belongs to the Milk Board from the day it was established 60 years ago. The water to the factory was obtained from a well on this land. However, the government closed the well and donated the valuable land to the priest by deed. People should understand why the government donates a land to this priest.
This government is very swift when selling state institutions. Agreements are signed in no time. However, we warn the companies that buy these assets. There is a big opposition from the people against selling of these institutions and resources. As such, the companies must realize that spending money and signing agreements would not allow them to own those resources and institutions.
We have explained about deals on several occasions. If we have a deal with the government we should get something from the government. We should give the government something. We challenge anyone coming out with this story about deals to prove that we have got something from the government. However, we could tell what those who complain about us have got from the government. Having two passports by one person is a serious offence. There are many in Negombo prison who have been found guilty of this offence. How is Wimal Weerawansa not charged or not in prison? Udaya Gammanpila himself said he talked to Ranil about the matter and Ranil had said Wimal is reliable he could stay without going in.
Also, making false information in the voter registration form is a serious offence. This is mentioned in the back page. However, Wimal Weerawansa entered false information regarding him and his wife on the form. He was not punished. When Mahinda went to Uganda he talked to Mangala Samaraweera and asked for two tickets. We have the letter written by Mahinda Rajapaksa’s coordinator Uditha Lokubandara to Mangala Samaraweera. They are the deals.
When Shiranthi was asked to give a statement regarding ‘Siriliya accounts Ranil Wickremesinghe sent FCID officers to Shiranthi on a request by Mahinda Rajapaksa. Further, in the cabinet of Ranil Wickremesinghe a decision has been taken not to take legal action against Shiranthi.
After spending a large amount of money to renovate Kadirgamar’s residence to be given to Mahinda Rajapaksa, another supplementary estimate of Rs.19 million was approved to build another building near the residence. When Mahinda Rajapaksa goes to China the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requests for all diplomatic facilities for him.
Minister Sagala Ratnayaka in a telephone conversation heard by the public tells the IGP not to arrest the Nilame of Devundra Temple who was the Chairman of Mineral Sands Corporation during the previous regime. This Nilame is a very close associate of Namal Rajapakasa. As such, it is very clear that deals are taking place among them. We ask the people to judge us from our practice.


JVP rallying working masses for massive agitations

The JVP is getting ready to hold a series of massive agitations throughout the country rallying working masses including farmers, fisher folk and workers.

The Member of the Political Bureau of the JVP Comrade Lal Kantha emphasized that institutions that have deprived rights of the working masses would be encircled to demand back rights that have been slashed.
Comrade Lal Kantha said the continuous ‘Sathyagraha’ campaigns that are being carried out in Colombo and Hambanthota harbours would continue, whatever obstacles are placed, until the casual workers in the harbours are made permanent and are absorbed to the Port Authority.
He said the government has slashed the fertilizer subsidy given to the farmer community and if the government does not take measures, as has been promised, to pay farmers the fertilizer subsidy money within two weeks, they would take to the streets with the farmer community.
The ‘Sathyagraha’ he had joined regarding issues of employees in Department of Labour ended in victory and the present struggle too would end only in a victory said Comrade Lal Kantha.